Source: SunTrust

SunTrust aims to spread name with airport branch, ATMs

By opening a branch and ATMs at the world’s busiest airport, SunTrust hopes to gain national visibility.

The Atlanta-based bank has a new contract to operate a branch and 16 ATMs at Hartsfield-Jackson International in the first quarter of 2019, replacing Wells Fargo ATMs.

And with the Super Bowl headed for Atlanta next February, SunTrust plans to open its branch at the airport before the big game.

“Atlanta is a magnet for international events, and we’ve got a big one coming to our city next year,” said Mark Chancy, SunTrust’s co-chief operating officer. “We’re very focused on having a presence [at the airport] before the Super Bowl date.”

An average of 275,000 passengers pass through the Atlanta airport a day, and about 63,000 people work at the airport. Last year, Hartsfield-Jackson handled 103.9 million passengers, maintaining its title of world’s busiest airport.

“We think this is a great opportunity for us to service our existing clients in this area, but also to gain some additional exposure to the millions that will be coming through the busiest airport in the world,” Chancy said. “We at SunTrust have been working to expand our national brand recognition over the last several years.”

Among its efforts: SunTrust’s first Super Bowl ad ran in 2016 and it’s the title sponsor of the Braves stadium opened last year in Cobb County.

The bank’s branches are centered around the Southeast, but some of its business is national — including mortgages, consumer lending, corporate and commercial banking and wealth management. Its corporate and investment banking arm SunTrust Robinson Humphrey has locations in Boston, Dalllas, New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, for example.

While SunTrust is interested in the increased visibility of airport locations, it was the only company interested in the Atlanta airport bank contract.

The contract has struggled to be filled as banks deal with disruptions to their business. Increased credit card usage, electronic payments, and e-commerce activity has led to a declining demand for cash, ATMs and bank branch use.

Wells Fargo closed its branch at the Atlanta airport last year and negotiated reduced rent due to a decline in ATM revenues.

The Atlanta City Council approved the airport deal with SunTrust earlier this month, over the objections of airport advertising contractor Clear Channel, which wanted to offer free ATMs subsidized by advertising.

However, the airport’s then-general manager Roosevelt Council said the city’s law department determined the airport had to competitively bid the ATM deal — with SunTrust submitting the only proposal to win the contract.

Once it opens at the airport next year, SunTrust plans to operate the branch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will also open a “Teller Connect” machine with banking and remote teller access from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The SunTrust ATMs will be located across the Atlanta airport’s terminal and concourses, with the exception of Concourse E where currency exchange operator Travelex has an ATM.

At its airport ATMs, SunTrust said it plans to charge standard ATM fees of $3.50 for non-SunTrust customers.

While it’s the first time SunTrust has had such a contract at Hartsfield-Jackson, the bank has locations at other airports including in Tampa, Orlando and Richmond.

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